Supermodel Karolína Kurková On Self-Isolating With Her Sons: 'Staying Home Gives Us a Rare Chance to Bond Together'
If Victoria’s Secret was anywhere on your radar in the 2000s, you may remember Karolína Kurková smiling confidently from the catalog cover and power strutting down the fashion-show runway—in a diamond-encrusted bra, no less. It’s also likely you’ve seen her on magazine covers and in ads for everything from luxury watches to strollers. (In fact, she’s a collaborator for the baby-gear brand CYBEX.) Kurková was only 17 when she moved to the U.S. from her home in the Czech Republic to work. And while she’s never stopped, now that she’s 36, she’s added more roles to her life: She cofounded the child-friendly wellness brand Gryph & IvyRose, and with husband Archie Drury, she’s raising Tobin, 10, and Noah, 4.
Kurková has also accrued a sizable social-media following and, to the surprise of probably no one, often looks pixel-perfect on her Instagram feed. On that front, I was primed to ask questions about her general beauty routine and selfie skills. But the first question that I, Parents’ beauty director and also a mom of two, found myself blurting out was, “Isn’t it crazy to go from glam photo shoots to dishes and runny noses?”
Her short answer was yes. At the time of our interview, Kurková had just attended a star-studded Oscar party in Los Angeles. She’d had her hair and makeup done and worn a stunning designer dress and diamond jewelry. In fact, before we could continue our chat, we were briefly interrupted by a security guard coming to collect the borrowed jewels. Once he’d left, Kurková launched into a story about why she’d created a chore chart for her boys: “I do so much around the house. I’m vacuuming, cleaning dishes, treating stains on clothes, picking up after everyone. In an effort to encourage the boys to help, I explained that if they joined me we’d be done quicker and then we could have fun together.” Yup, sounds like a lot of moms out there.
I recently caught up with Kurková to check in on her and her family while our country practices social distancing during the coronavirus pandemic. She says she's grateful to be able to stay at home and isolate when we know how many heroes are putting themselves on the line to fight this virus. "For us, I’m finding that staying home gives us a rare chance to bond together as a family on a much deeper level than ever before. I’m focusing on being with my sons and husband during this time, showing them life skills and finding activities that can bring us joy. We're learning about patience, gratitude, and values, and are teaching them all about the brave doctors, nurses, and others who are on the front lines helping us all stay safe.”
Kurková shared a lot about her family life that most parents will relate to:
Crossing one thing off the to-do list is a win.
“Sometimes I’m completely off schedule and feel like I can’t get anything done,” says Kurková. When that happens, she focuses on one task for the day. “Then I can think, for instance, ‘At least I ordered the birthday cake!’ Tomorrow I’ll do the next thing.”
Self-care boosts mom energy.
“Being a mom stops you from focusing on yourself,” says Kurková. “I love that I’m part of something bigger. But at the same time, I have to carve out little moments for me too. Working out or getting my hair colored or taking a class is the way I feel energized and inspired.”
It’s good to share kids’ passions.
There’s a six-year age gap between Kurková’s sons, so she’s always in two very different parenting stages. “My 4-year-old is learning about his emotions, while my 10-year-old is thinking about how he looks, his body, and what other people think of him,” she says. To connect with her eldest, she has to keep up with what preteens are doing. “Tobin’s friends have been filming TikTok dances, so they come over to our house and I join in,” says Kurková. “It’s actually fun, but the real reason I’m doing it is because I want to understand what’s going on in his life these days. That way I can help if he needs me.”
She loves what she learned growing up in the Czech Republic.
“I try to pass down some of my family’s values, like having polite manners and sitting down for dinner together. But I was also taught to be independent.”
You can balance screen time with playtime.
“My rule is, for every hour they spend watching a screen, they have to spend an hour doing something outdoors. We live in Miami, so it’s easy to send them outside for some fresh air or a bike ride or to collect some shells on the beach.”
Wellness is more fun as a family affair.
“I want to teach my boys healthy habits, so I get them involved in the kitchen. Tobin can now make pasta and chicken fingers for himself, his brother, and his friends. I can see how empowered he feels,” says Kurková. At the Gryph & IvyRose offices, she helps develop products that she can use with the boys; the brand has tinctures for stomachaches, sleep, and mood. “I explain that these formulas are based on traditional Eastern medicine that’s been around for thousands of years,” she says.
Your kids may not care about makeup—but you still can.
“I wear so little makeup at home that if I put on mascara, Noah notices and asks, ‘Mommy, where are you going?’ In fact, the last time I did it he told me that it looked ugly, because he didn’t want me to go to my event!” Tobin is no fan either. “He saw me in makeup the other day and said, ‘What is that on your face? Wash it off, Mom!’ He was being so protective,” she says. But she does regularly wear color on her lips and cheeks.
Skin care is worth prioritizing.
“I love sheet masks; they’re such an easy way to get an at-home facial. I’ll leave one on for 15 minutes while I’m making breakfast or before I go to bed. Even faster is splashing my face with ice-cold water,” says Kurková. “I don’t smoke, I’m not a big drinker, and I eat fresh foods. I think those three things have helped to keep my skin healthy.” She says acupuncture and cupping treatments help her relieve stress and increase circulation. “They give my skin a glow, but they also recharge me,” she says. And if she needs to reboot her mama superpowers at home? “When I’m with the kids and dragging, I spritz on Caudalíe Paris Beauty Elixer, a facial mist, and feel alive again.”
She really does have a good selfie-taking tip.
“Hand your phone to your kids! They take the freshest, coolest, most natural photos,” says Kurková. “And they won’t let you overthink it.”
This article originally appeared in Parents magazine's May 2020 issue as "Supermodel, Super Mama!"